Foreword

Horror comes in all shapes and sizes. Fear comes in many shades and hues.

One of those shapes and sizes in some of those shades and hues wears a suit and tie, and has no face.

Yes, you all know what I'm talking about. Or at least if you run in certain circles of the internet, you know what I'm talking about. A monster created to be a manufactured, internet urban legend, one that's gone horribly right and really branched out in popularity recently. One that flexible, bendable, moldable to many interpretations, a being open enough to change but unknown and unknowable enough to terrorize even the strong-willed if written by the right hands. One that has a great many names, but is most commonly called "The Slenderman".

Really, for the sheer amount of stories and interpretations of this creepy creature's motives, abilities, and forms, it's astonishing there are any common threads at all. Some give him branches, some give him arms with hands, some give him tentacles, and some give him nothing. He uses the limbs for purposes as diverse as sensing motion, feeding, gripping and grabbing, climbing, and as extra legs to walk on. Some claim his face is different for everyone who sees it, some claim he never had a face to begin with. He attacks children, teenagers, adults, and the elderly, and he is both passive and aggressive. He kills people, removes their organs, forces them to work for him, drives them insane, eats them, impales them on trees, and makes them vanish without a trace. He's appeared in web series, video games, short films, literature, and artwork. He's been placed in the past, the present, the future, and everywhere in between. He's been part of his own universe as well as thrust into a universe with other beings that represent specific fears, and he's been considered everything from fear itself given form to an alien or demon to a full-blown eldritch abomination of Lovecraftian proportions. And of course, whether he actually can be considered to have a gender or not, he's quite often referred to with the masculine pronoun, "Him".

What you're looking at in this collection is the result of about a month of planning, writing, and experimenting with different ideas and styles of writing stories. I challenged myself with each story to do something a bit different, to focus on different aspects of the Slenderman and to write each story in a slightly different way. Over the course of writing stories for Project "Him", I was dealing with finals, was taking part in an ARG, got a new manager at my workplace, and graduated college with my Associate's degree. The stories in this collection play with several different ideas, yet still have some similar threads and motifs to them. All the protagonists differ in who they are and what happens to them, but are tied together by referring to their suited attacker with masculine pronouns. And each story, hopefully, presents a different possibility for this interesting being, another way to view him, another way to fear him...